Friday, March 18, 2011

Speaker McCoy's Statement Preceding the Senate Concur/Nonconcur Vote

Here's the statement from Speaker Billy McCoy made on Wednesday before the Senate's vote to invite conference on Thursday.

“In adopting JR 201, the Mississippi House of Representatives has approved the plan for the redistricting of its members (for a second time), as well as included in the resolution the plan sent to the House for the redistricting of the members of the Senate (without changes). As far as I am concerned, the matter is settled. The Senate has approved its plan, and the House has approved its plan.

For the 50 years that the Mississippi Legislature has been conforming its district lines to meet the demands of one-person, one-vote and the Voting Rights Act, the Legislature has conducted this business with one overriding tradition in mind – that neither house will interfere with the districts of the other house. We have maintained this tradition for half a century, it has served the state well, and I have no intention of changing that tradition for as long as I am speaker.

This year the Mississippi Legislature has passed fair redistricting plans after sixteen (16) public hearings, approved unanimously by the bi-partisan Joint Legislative Committee on Legislative Redistricting, and vigorous floor debate.

Should the Senate choose to invite conference on JR 201, I will not entertain that request nor will I appoint conferees. In addition, the House will immediately transmit JR 201 to the Department of Justice and seek preclearance of the plan for use in the upcoming elections. We will ask the Department of Justice to work with us in adopting this plan to prevent the taxpayers from having to pay for two sets of legislative elections and from having to pay for the expensive cost of litigation. There is no reason whatsoever that the Legislature should incur these unnecessary costs at the same time we are cutting education, Medicaid and mental health.”

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